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Start funding public security innovations

Security officers at Nairobi’s Dusit office park on January 16, 2019 that was attacked by terrorists. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Terrorists attacked Nairobi about two weeks ago, killing 21 people.

Terrorism is a global issue. Nationally, public insecurity has been a problem in most large cities, however, the increased use of ICT-based innovations has minimised incidents. For example, the usage of CCTV cameras.

I would like to highlight the importance of public security-based innovations and it is my wish that today’s reading inspire works in that field.

Innovations answer to consumer needs and catalyse social change. Public safety innovations are categorised as social innovations since they meet societal needs, among them security.

For the Kenyan market, there are innovations for private and public sectors catering for commercial and public use respectively.

Such works include those used to secure buildings or architecture that enhances security.

A private innovation can be sold or licensed to public entities for enhancing security.

A public sector-led security innovation is largely owned or financed by taxpayers.

The regulatory framework governing such innovations has to be considered from scratch.

It is pointless to innovate against an individual’s constitutional rights.


Public security and intellectual property laws ought to guide such creations. They should also be ethical to guard against bad publicity.

This was the case last year when there was a heated global debate surrounding the usage of artificial intelligence for war, in other words, robot soldiers. The innovation raised a lot of ethical issues.

An innovator can get ideas from research and search patent databases to identify gaps.

The second step is to create and protect it. Lastly, commercialisation.

There is a lot of demand for security-based innovations from the private sector, county and national governments, methinks.

The public sector can enhance such inventions in many ways by, among others, providing budgetary allocation and encouraging the uptake of home-grown tools guided by policy.

The public sector may also participate by filling in regulatory gaps.

Where there are gaps in the laws, it is the public sector to enhance security-based innovations using regulations or even executive guidelines through Cabinet Secretaries.

It is important to reiterate that for success in such endeavours, funding should be directed to the geeks through respective agencies.

After every terrorism-linked attacks, experts have always suggested tightening of training, policing and research to keep the attackers at bay.

It, therefore, behoves the government to roll up sleeves and fund targeted innovation in the war against terrorism and similar attacks.

Innovations have the capacity to create major changes even in the security sector.

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